Posted by: Julia Rosen | April 6, 2009

Schubert and his cold shoulder at the Pollies

Matier & Ross shout out to Frank Schubert, the Yes on 8 campaign manager on his wins at the Pollie awards. They only got the partial story about Schubert and the Pollies. Had they dug a little bit into the response of the crowd of political consultants they could have ended up with a much richer story.

Karen Ocam has this quote from former Log Cabin Republican President Patrick Sammon at Bilerco:

“To say he got a cold reception would be an understatement. The woman who introduced him made it clear she supported marriage equality – and there was strong applause. Following that some people sang Happy Birthday – because I guess it was his birthday. But they couldn’t make it through the song because no one was singing. He detected the chilly reception and acknowledged that many people disagreed with him. But then he said, ‘However, I represent those who read the Bible and believe in God.’ Some people found that incredibly offensive. At one point, some people were hissing.”

The crowd at the Pollies is mixed ideologically, so it isn’t surprising to have some venom directed towards Schubert is not surprising, however having most of the crowd seemingly against him is quite interesting.

Posted by: Julia Rosen | April 2, 2009

California SNAFU: Situation Normal All Fucked Up

Back in 2005 when I first moved to California, this state’s politics seemed pretty screwy, but 3.5 years later I can confidently say that fucked up is the norm and that there is no real hope of fixing it any time soon.

As many know, SNAFU is a military term from the WW II era. These days it is most often used to say something went wrong or got screwed up. But the original acronym is a lot more colorful: Situation Normal All Fucked Up.

It is the perfect description for California politics, more specifically the operation of the state government. There are any number of reasons that have caused it to become a SNAFU. They include, but are not limited to the 2/3rds requirement to pass both a budget and increase taxes, term limits and the initiative system.

While there is not a lot of hope for fixing it any time soon, that does not mean that there aren’t sensible solutions and opportunities to organize around them. However, first we have to get past this gawd awful May 19th special election and deal with the fall out from it.

Posted by: Julia Rosen | March 26, 2009

Gay by Choice?

For me, it has never been a choice. I am who I am. Others have decided to try and live a life where they deny that part of themselves and work themselves into believing they are no longer gay and living a straight life. I am fortunate enough that I have never felt that pressure to be anything but me.

That is not true for a lot of people.

Mother Jones has a lengthy article about the science of sexual identity. Unfortunately, the ex gay movement is alive and well. Their shrinks are trying to advance the argument that you can choose to be a different sexuality. The article is worth reading and will make you think. Here is snippet:

But as crucial as this consensus has been to the struggle for gay rights, it may not be as sound as some might wish. While scientists have found intriguing biological differences between gay and straight people, the evidence so far stops well short of proving that we are born with a sexual orientation that we will have for life. Even more important, some research shows that sexual orientation is more fluid than we have come to think, that people, especially women, can and do move across customary sexual orientation boundaries, that there are ex-straights as well as ex-gays. Much of this research has stayed below the radar of the culture warriors, but reparative therapists are hoping to use it to enter the scientific mainstream and advocate for what they call the right of self-determination in matters of sexual orientation. If they are successful, gay activists may soon find themselves scrambling to make sense of a new scientific and political landscape.

Putting too much stock in the science of being gay has never seemed like a wise plan. Science makes many advances, but rarely can explain everything, not to mention how long it takes to make advances in any particular field of research.

We are going to advance our cause the most by talking about ourselves as fully fleshed out humans, not a scientific discussion of genetics. Not to mention the straights, particularly when they affirm that they never chose to be straight. It is just who they are.

Posted by: Julia Rosen | March 26, 2009

HRC Finally Firm on Trans Inclusive ENDA

This took way longer than it ought to, but HRC quietly issued this statement yesterday:

It’s the policy of HRC that the organization will only support an inclusive ENDA. In 2007 House leadership informed us that there were insufficient votes to pass an inclusive bill, so they decided to vote on a sexual orientation only bill. We made a one time exception to our policy in 2007 because we strongly believed that supporting this vote would do more to advance inclusive legislation. We will not support such a strategy again. We look forward to Congress sending President Obama a fully inclusive ENDA for his signature.

It is naturally defensive and does not admit that they made a mistake. But at this point, I could care less. I am glad they are now on record saying that they will only support ENDA if it is trans inclusive.

Posted by: Julia Rosen | March 26, 2009

Long neglected

I just had to renew another domain I hold on WordPress and realized quite how neglected this piece of virtual real estate has become.

Though I would like to say that I will have the time to not leave it so abandoned, I can’t guarantee it.  However, I am feeling the urge to blog more now, having taken quite a break from it.  It was not that I was burnt out, so much as I have been very busy with work, leaving me little time to write.

My twitter feed is now up here, which is where I have been taking to posting much shorter form comments.  It’s not as if I have falled off of the face of the online earth.

Posted by: Julia Rosen | June 24, 2008

Barack Obama Unguarded

This may be one of the more raw, authentic and touching things I have seen from Barack Obama in a while. He is extremely disciplined, which is the key to winning a presidential race, but when he drops it and speaks openly it can be magical. Today he had one of those moments (h/t to Avi) when he was asked by a 23 year-old woman in New Mexico: ““How do you ground yourself,” she continues. “How do you keep yourself true to the things you say?”

Obama started to give a more stock answer. But then…

But this answer seems a touch rote, not really satisfying Ms. Sanchez or the candidate. He reaches into the pocket of his black slacks, pulling out a mound of trinkets and tchotchkes.

“I have all these things that people give me,” he says. “This eagle that a Native American woman gave me, this woman who gave me her lucky poker chip.

“They hand these to you say and say, y’know, ‘I want you to do well but I want you to help me,’ ” he says. “A guy I met wanted to buy me a beer in Pennsylvania even though he had just lost his job and couldn’t afford to put gas in his car and do a job search.”

He falls silent just a second, rummaging for meaning in these objects. He is describing people who are forced to play life’s game with no net below.

“If you are asking them to vote for you,” he says. “If you are asking for their trust, you better be serious. You better not over-promise.”

It goes hand in hand with the message he gave to his staff in the video they released to the email list today.

Posted by: Julia Rosen | April 16, 2008

Rich Liberals: Why they vote against their self-interest

The comments Barack Obama made about voters in my homestate of Pennsylvania voting against their economic self-interest have prompted long time California political consultant and pundit Dan Schnur to attempt to make the corollary argument for liberals at the NYT.

For many people, that’s certainly true. But there are plenty of other voters who don’t necessarily base their votes solely on jobs and taxes, and many of them are quite financially successful. They have determined their political affiliations largely as a result of the same continuing battles over abortion, guns and same-sex marriage that have drawn so many working-class voters to Republican candidates over the years. The only difference is the side of the fight they’ve chosen. It’s hard to argue that a wealthy pro-choice Democrat is any less of a values voter than a pro-life construction worker who votes Republican.

Perhaps Mr. Frank’s book would benefit from a sequel. We could call it: “What’s the Matter With the Upper East Side?” or perhaps “What’s the Matter With Beverly Hills?” or “What’s the Matter With Martha’s Vineyard?” The answer is that there’s nothing wrong with these voters at all, nothing more than there is anything inappropriate about blue-collar Kansans or Pennsylvanians who have decided that economic issues are not the most important influencers on their vote.

Many wealthy Democratic voters do recognize that they are voting against their economic interests and do so deliberately. They are actually voting on an economic agenda, one that recognizes that there are many people who are not as fortunate as them and that they can afford to pay more in taxes. Indeed Bill Clinton has made this argument about the Bush tax cuts, as has just about every major Democratic contender in recent years.

They also happen to side with the Democrats on social issues in addition to fiscal ones. In recent years, the social issues of most concern to Democrats have faded from prominence in the wake of 9/11 and the constant defense against the Republicans, particularly Bush.

The mistake that Senator Obama and Mr. Frank both make is that they assume that only the values of culturally conservative voters require justification. An environmentally conscious, pro-stem cell bond trader who votes Democratic is lauded for selflessness and open-mindedness. A gun-owning, church-going factory worker who supports Republican candidates, on the other hand, must be the victim of partisan deception. This double standard is at the heart of the Democratic challenge in national elections: rather than diminish these cultural beliefs as a byproduct of economic discomfort, a more experienced and open-minded candidate would recognize and respect the foundations on which these values are based.

The bond trader is fully aware of his fiscal situation. He watches the taxes come out of his pay check every month. The economic impact on the Reagan Democrats or whatever you want to call them is much less direct. There has not been a deliberate strategy from the Democrats to lure the bond trader to our side, where there absolutely has been a strategic attempt to trump up values issues during election season to lure social conservatives to vote for Republicans.

I am not saying that what Schnur has written here has absolutely no merit. The Democrats run into problems when they say things that are condescending and insulting to voters. The tone is an issue and that is where Obama ran into trouble. Talking about the impact of policy positions on voters lives is not. Democrats do need to make an argument that fiscal issues are more important to voters’ daily lives than things like guns and marriage equality.

Posted by: Julia Rosen | March 21, 2008

MSM Needs Editors

The media gives us bloggers crap all the time about the fact that we don’t have editors, so what we write is not to be respected. What is amazing is the amount of quality that we are able to create without having someone looking over our drafts. So it is not without a bit of schadenfreude that I point you to this First Read post by the fine folks at MSNBC.

PORTLAND — Bill Richardson described the conversation he had with Hillary Clinton on his decision to endorse Barack Obama as “heated” in an exclusive with NBC Nightly News today.

Both Richardson and Obama shared the spotlight this afternoon at a press conference and later in a sit down interview with NBC’s Lee Cowan. (Please insert link to NN spot)

Richardson described the conversation that he had with Clinton last night “tough.”

“It was tough to make the call, but I did. It got a little heated. It got a little tense. But it was understood, and I’m proud of my decision.”

Lee Cowan is listed as the author of this post, but it is pretty clear that Lee is not the one who wrote this, let alone put it up using their CMS.

1) An author would have said “Both Richardson and Obama shared the spotlight this afternoon at a press conference and later in a sit down interview with me.” and not used their own name.

2) You can see that the person who actually wrote this passed it off to someone else to post it up. The note: (Please insert link to NN spot) is showing. Presumably they wanted someone to plug in the hmtl including a link to whatever the “NN spot” is and the person who posted it didn’t notice the note.

Pretty freaking funny. Too bad for Lee, other people’s mistakes under his name reflect poorly on him.

Posted by: Julia Rosen | March 17, 2008

Responsible Plan: Candidates as Leaders

This weekend I had the honor of attending the NOI Blogger Summit. On Sunday we had the pleasure of getting a preview of the Responsible Plan a project of Darcy Burner and other members of the vast left-wing conspiracy. This is a remarkable project and an example of real leadership by Darcy Burner especially, but also to the nine other congressional candidates who have endorsed the proposal. The goal is two-fold 1) To have a proposal for ending the war that candidates, citizens and other leaders can endorse 2) Change the meta frames of how we discuss the war.

This is the first time that I know of where a group of congressional candidates have joined together to advance a piece of policy. Darcy Burner has invested significant resources in partnering with bloggers and policy experts to launch this project. They have set up an LLC to run this proposal out of, which makes sense given the legal restrictions placed on the various non-profit statuses. ResponsiblePlan.com is collecting citizen endorsers, capturing names, addresses and email addresses. Right now there is no carrot to get other candidates to endorse by giving them names back. The privacy policy states that they may not share their contact info without their permission, so they can go back to them and ask for permission, but that will have a big drop-off. Legally speaking they would have to sell the names to the candidates, but you have to think that would be well worth it for both sides.

Unfortunately no California contenders have signed on to this proposal yet. Hopefully we will see a few of them come on board. The blogosphere has promised to push candidates to endorse the proposal. That should be effective.

There may be no Californians but my old boss, or my boss’s boss is more accurate at Common Cause, Chellie Pingree is among the ten initial co-sponsors. Chellie as she notes in this HuffPo piece has been speaking out against the war since 2002. This here is one of many reasons why I am proud to support Chellie and place her on the Ruck Pad ActBlue page (which I just added Darcy to).

When I stood up to oppose an invasion of Iraq in 2002 it wasn’t a popular thing to do. I was running for the U.S. Senate and the “experts” said it would be easier if I were in favor of the war. “This isn’t the time to take a stand,” they told me. Going along with the invasion might have been the easy thing to do, but I knew it wasn’t the right thing to do.

The right thing to do now is find a responsible way to end the war, bring our troops back home and make sure we take care of them once they get back here. That is why I was proud to endorse the ResponsiblePlan today and will be urging my social network, including congressional candidates to join me and what should soon be hundreds of thousands of Americans in doing so.

It is not just enough to sign. We must push this proposal out to everyone we know, blog about it and work to make sure that we change the conversation about Iraq. We should not be debating if the surge has worked or not. We should be discussion how and when we bring our troops home. It is time to change the frame. It is time that we lead, that our voices are heard and after five years we end the War in Iraq. We do that by electing more and better Democrats and we do that by helping them grow their megaphone. This project does all of that at once and that is really remarkable. This is the blogosphere and the progressive left at its best.

Posted by: Julia Rosen | March 16, 2008

Irony of Wright Kerfuffle

Ironically the dust-up over the comments made by Barack Obama’s former pastor should actually drive down the number of people who believe he is actually Muslim.  Then again generally speaking the people who would be upset if he was actually a Muslim, would be same ones who are pissed off with what Wright said.

Minus of course the Jews with the Muslim stuff.

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